24 Successful People Who Wake Up Really (Really) Early

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David Davies/PA WIREVirgin Group founder Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45 every morning - even when he's staying at his private island.
By Gus Lubin and Rachel Sugar

They say the early bird catches the worm, and research suggests there might be some truth to the old adage.

Waking up with (or before) the sun allows executives like GM's Mary Barra and Pepsi's Indra Nooyi to get a head start on the day, knocking out tasks before the rest of the world has rolled out of bed.

Those "extra" hours also give them a chance to do some creative thinking, fit in a workout, and spend time with family.

Ahead, 24 early risers who may convince you never to hit snooze again.

Max Nisen and Aaron Taube contributed to earlier versions of this article.
24 successful people who wake up really (really) early
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24 Successful People Who Wake Up Really (Really) Early
Like her predecessor, Daniel Akerson, GM's current chief executive is an early riser. According to a New York Times profile, she was regularly at the office by 6 a.m., and that was before she even became CEO.

Burns uses early morning hours to get caught up on emails, getting up at 5:15 a.m. and sometimes working until midnight, according to Yahoo Finance.

She also uses the time to fit in a workout, according to Laura Vanderkam's "What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast." Burns schedules an hour of personal training at 6 a.m. twice a week. 

Immelt told Fortune that he gets up at 5:30 in the morning every day for a cardio workout, during which he reads the papers and watches CNBC. He claims to have worked 100-hour weeks for 24 straight years.

Nooyi wakes up as early as 4 a.m., telling Fortune that "they say sleep is a gift that God gives you ... that's one gift I was never given."

In a speakers series at Pepsi, she revealed that she was at work every day by no later than 7.

Marchionne wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to deal with the European market, according to a "60 Minutes" profile on his turnaround of Chrysler.

Referring to his schedule and work ethic, one exec is quoted in the FT as saying: "Sergio invented an eighth day, and we work it." In that "60 Minutes" special, another exec said: "When it was a holiday in Italy he'd come to America to work. When it's a holiday in America he goes to Italy to work." 

Gross, now a portfolio manager at Janus Capital in Denver, starts his day early — really early. According to Fortune, he wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to check out the markets and gets into the office by 6. 

In an interview with Business Insider's Aly Weisman, Branson revealed that he wakes up at about 5:45 in the morning, even when staying at his private island, leaving the curtains drawn so the sun gets him up. 

He does his best to use those early hours to exercise before an early breakfast and getting to work. 

Cush described his morning routine to the AP. He wakes up at 4:15 a.m., sends emails, calls business associates on the East Coast, and that's before listening to Dallas sports radio, reading the paper, and hitting the bike at the gym.
Dorsey, the cofounder of Twitter, described his morning routine to New York Magazine, revealing that he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to meditate and go for a six-mile jog.

In a post for Business Insider, the Hint Water founder says she's up at 5:30 a.m. "on the dot," to look over her calendar, catch up on unread emails, and make sure nothing urgent has popped up over night.

Once that's done, she sips a double latte and takes a morning hike with her husband and dogs before making her first work-related call at 7:15. 

The tech titan is known for getting up early.

According to a Time profile, "He wakes up at 3:45 every morning ('Yes, every morning'), does e-mail for an hour, stealing a march on those lazy East Coasters three time zones ahead of him, then goes to the gym, then Starbucks (for more e-mail), then work. 'The thing about it is, when you love what you do, you don’t really think of it as work. It’s what you do. And that’s the good fortune of where I find myself.'"

Iger told The New York Times he gets up at 4:30 each morning. He takes the quiet time to read the papers, exercise, listen to music, look at email, and watch TV, all at once. Even though it's quiet time, he's "already multitasking."

The Ellevate chair and former Citigroup CFO wrote in a LinkedIn post that she's never more productive than she is at 4 a.m. "I brew a cup of coffee, I keep the lights pretty low, I sometimes light a fire in the fireplace, and I let my daughter’s cat sleep next to my computer," she wrote. 

That's when her mind is clearest, she explains, since she's not yet caught up in the day's internal conversations. Perhaps not unrelatedly, it's also when she finds she's the most creative. "It is at this time of day that I often have a rush of ideas (some of them actually good)."

Simon accomplishes more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.

He wakes up 5 a.m., goes through emails, and checks in on operations in Europe and Asia. He also prays, walks the dog, and exercises before his kids wake up. He arrives at his office on Long Island usually after squeezing in a breakfast meeting in Manhattan, as well.

Now the Executive in Residence at Wake Forest University School of Business, the longtime head of Pepsi told Yahoo Finance that he would be out of bed at 5:30, already reading the papers.

He would go through The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Dallas Morning News before heading to work.

The former Google executive told The Guardian that he was "not a big sleeper" and wakes up at 5 a.m. or 5:15 a.m. every day to workout, read, tinker with AOL's products, and answer emails. Armstrong has a driver who takes him to work every day, allowing him to get things done throughout his hour-long commute.

While the president is known for getting very little sleep, he's got nothing on the first lady, who tells Oprah she starts her days with a 4:30 a.m. workout before her kids wake up. 

"If I don't exercise, I won't feel good. I'll get depressed," she says, noting that it's easier to pull that off at the White House, where she has "much more support" than the average person.

Schultz starts his day with a workout, which is usually a bike ride with his wife, but still gets to the office by 6 a.m., according to Portfolio.com.

The youngest CEO in the NBA told SellingPower that he gets up at 3:30 in the morning to get to the office by 4:30. From there, he works out and sends motivational emails to his team.

He takes it easy on the weekends, arriving at the office by 7 a.m. instead.

The founder of Oxygen is awake by 6 a.m. and out of the house a half hour later. If you get up early enough she might even take you under her wing, she tells Yahoo Finance:

"Once or twice a week, I go for a walk in Central Park with a young person seeking my advice. This is my way of helping bring along the next generation. And if someone is up early in the morning, then they are serious about life. I can't take time at the office to do this, but doing it in the morning allows me to get exercise and stay connected with young people at the same time."

As head of the Saban Capital Group, this Egyptian-born, Israeli-American billionaire has his first cup of coffee at 6:02 a.m. and begins work from there. He works for an hour before exercising for 75 minutes to really start his day, according to Yahoo Finance.
According to "What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast," the former Coors CEO makes a habit of going for a run at 5:50 in the morning and being ready for the day by 6:30. 

Although she doesn't run right to the office upon waking up at 4:30 a.m., Warrior spends an hour on email, reads the news, and works out. And she is still in the office by 8:30 at the latest, according to Yahoo Finance.  

She was formerly the CTO of Motorola and has been one of the most highly acclaimed women in business during her career.

The fashion icon starts his days at 5:30 a.m. with an espresso, which he sips while reading the newspaper, he tells the New York Post.  

He's a big fan of those early morning hours. "I love getting up before the sun's up," he explains, telling The Times that he starts even his Sundays with "50 sit-ups, in bed." 

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